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22 Best Japanese Comedy Movies

Fun and laughter make a film memorable, and the Japanese comedy movies have a unique contribution to that. Aiming to bring happiness, comedy films bring meaningful messages as well from the big screen.

 

Check out the 22 Best Japanese Comedy Movies below and see which makes you laugh out loud.

 

22. No More Cry (Nakumonka) – 2009

Nakumonka is a comedy film that will not just make you smile but also touch your heart.

Taken by his father, Shimoigusa Yuta left his mother and unborn sibling at a young age. His father brought him to the Yama-chan family. One day, Yuta woke up with his father gone with all the money of the Yama-chan. As Yuta was growing, his sibling Yusuke grew with their mother who died leaving Yusuke alone. He hated being laughed at yet he decided to be a comedian. As Yusuke began to become famous, Yuta realized that he is his long lost brother.

 

21. Maiko Haaaan!!! – 2007

The young Onizuka Kimihiko got lost in Kyoto during his high school trip. He was then assisted by a Geisha. Since then, Onizuka grew a big admiration for Geisha. Now that he is a grown-up man working, he was assigned by his boss to work in Kyoto. He then started dreaming of entering a Geisha house. He even made a Geisha fansite using the name Bon.

With jokes of every kind, Maiko Haaaan!!! will definitely leave with a good laugh.

 

20. The Apology King (Shazai no Ousama) – 2013

One tough act to pull, Sadao Abe makes the world see the talent in him. Directed by Nabuo Mizuta, The Apology King is one big production of sure entertainment.

Ryoro Kurojima leads a Tokyo apology. His job is to teach people how to apologize. He uses his apology styles to bring reconciliation from simple problems to national issues.

The Apology King presents scenes that will really make you laugh hard, but behind the laughter is the heartfelt message that you should not miss.

 

19. A Ghost of a Chance (Suteki na Kanashibari) – 2011

You are accused of a crime and you only have one witness – a ghost. A Ghost of a Chance really takes comedy as a serious matter.

A not so good lawyer, Emi Hosho gets involved in an unusual case. She needs to prove the innocence of her client accused of murder of his rich wife. Her client details that when his wife died, he was sleeping while suffering from “kanashibar” or sleep paralysis. Emi finds the job more challenging as her only witness is a 500-year-old military commander Rokubei Sarashira.

Murder and ghost do not look like elements of a comedy film, but sure that A Ghost of a Chance is one of the Japanese comedy movies that finds its way to bring laughter to you.

 

18. University of Laughs (Warai no Daigaku) – 2004

One rejection means nothing to the determined. University of Laughs may be a comedy, but it does tell a story of perseverance.

Sakisaka gets assigned to check all scripts used in theaters. Japan is at war and needs to apply strict censorship, especially to its entertainment. He meets the playwright Tsubaki. Tsubaki has been submitting his theater play script but keeps on being rejected. He changes the script as Sakisaka keeps on seeing corrections. As Tsubaki revises his original work, he sees the improvement in his work and the genius in Sakisaka.

 

17. Turtles Are Surprisingly Fast Swimmers – 2005

Nobody likes a boring day so much more than a boring life. Turtles Are Surprisingly Fast Swimmers reminds its viewers that one’s adventure is one’s choice.

Suzume is a bored housewife. Her husband leaves for a job assignment in Paris that makes his experiences look fun. Her husband regularly calls but is mostly concerned about his pet turtle, Taro. One day, Suzume sees an ad about a job for a spy. Wanting to experience some adventure, Suzume tried to apply for the job.

If you want to get inspired by trying something new, Turtles Are Surprisingly Fast Swimmers is a good movie to motivate you.

16. Kamome Diner (Kamome Shokudo) – 2006

The 5th Best Film at the 28th Yokohama Film Festival, Kamome Diner shares a story of finding friends and fun.

Sachie lives alone in her house in Helsinki. She opens a cafe, but no one has ever tried for a month that she has opened. Finally, a young Finnish who likes anime arrives and becomes her first customer. She gives the order for free thanking him for eating.

Meanwhile, Midori arrives in Helsinki with no clear plan at all.  Sachie and Midori meet in a bookshop and become friends. Sachie meets another Japanese woman, Masako, who lost her luggage in the airline. Midori offers her place for them to stay. Midori and Masako then stayed in Sachie’s place and helped out in the cafe.

Life is different when you have friends beside you. They are sure to add color and laughter in your days!

 

15. Tampopo – 1985

A 1985 film that gets released again in 2016, Tampopo is one of the Japanese comedy movies that gives you more than just fun.

Tampopo owns a ramen restaurant. He meets Goro, a truck driver, who knows a lot about noodles. Goro tells stories about how people turn a regular ramen into a ramen you will never forget. Goro decides to help Tampopo turn his noodle shop into the best ramen soup restaurant

Tampopo is one of the Japanese comedy movies that don’t just make you laugh, but also makes you appreciate hard work.

 

14. Bang! – 1991

Winner of Best Actor and Best New Director award, Bang! is a movie that begins and ends with a bang!

A serious policeman catches TV audiences. In a training operation, he takes the role of a bank robber. His fellow policemen try their best to catch him, but he is so good he always manages to escape. TV networks broadcast the training nationwide and make him a celebrity in an instant.

This hilarious comedy-chase movie will make you laugh while you hold your seat!

 

13. Sumo Do, Sumo Don’t – 1992

Best Film at the Japan Academy Prize ceremony, Sumo Do, Sumo Don’t is one of the Japanese comedy movies that values culture and of course, fun.

College graduating student Shuhei finds no reason to join his school’s sumo club. He was blackmailed by his professor, Anayama, to join the sports club or he will not graduate. Shuhei, together with a pro wrestler, a chubby guy, and Gajin, trains for an upcoming competition. Soon they all understand and develop a love and respect for Sumo.

 

12. I Are You, You Am Me (Tenkōsei) – 1982

A classic film that received Best Film, Best Screenplay, and Best Newcomer,  I Are You, You Am Me is a big treat in our list of best Japanese comedy movies.

Falling down temple stairs, Kazumi and Kauo switch bodies. Both are high school students hitting puberty which makes the switching and adjustments difficult yet funnier.

I Are You, You Am Me is your comedy and romance movie in one.

 

11. Fancy Dance – 1989

Adaptation of an award-winning manga series, Fancy Dance is a comedy film rich in Japanese culture and tradition.

The rocker Yohei leaves his rock ‘n’ roll background in order to become the owner of a mountain temple. He must become a Buddhist monk. His behavior and beliefs are greatly challenged by the new set of disciplines he needs to learn. With rock ‘n’ roll and monastic discipline, will he acquire the temple?

With light tone and comedy together, Fancy Dance is your chill fun film.

 

10. The Family Game – 1983

The Best Movie of 1983, The Family Game is a movie you should not miss.

The father, Kosuke, leads his typical Japanese Family. He hires a tutor to help his son Shigeyuki to perform better in school and to prepare for the upcoming high school entrance exam. Yoshimoto, his tutor, seems strange but doing his job in helping Shigeyuki. Shigeyuki improves his studies and soon passes the entrance exam. Yoshimoto starts a commotion in the family during the celebration of Shigeyuki’s entrance exam result.

 

9. Hula Girls – 2006

Inspired by true events, Hula Girls is a comedy movie that is real to many.

A group of Japanese girls gathers and plans on how to save their village from poverty. They decide to join Madoka Hirayama, dance instructor, and learn the hula. The girls perform in places and are able to save their town establishing a Hawaiian spa resort.

Winning five major awards, Hula Girls is not your ordinary girl-empowering movie.

 

8. Our Little Sister – 2005

With 12 nominations and 4 awards, Our Little Sister tells a story about a family in a funny and heartwarming style.

Three sisters attend the funeral of their father who they have not seen since their parents’ separation. To their surprise, they meet their half-sister, Suzu Asano. As the three sisters are going home, they invite Suzu to live with them. Later, Suzu moves in.

Our Little Sister is one of the Japanese comedy movies that will not just make you smile but also touch your heart.

 

7. Fine, Totally Fine – 2008

Things are better when shared with a friend. But what if you both fall in love with the same girl? Fine, Totally Fine might have the answer to that.

Teruo Tooyama and Hisanobu Komori are still lost at the age of 29. These two close friends have no idea what they really want in their life. Everything changes for them when Akari Kinoshita, a mysterious woman, arrives. They both find themselves in love with the same woman.

Winning the Audience Award at the 2008 New York Asian Film Festival, Fine, Totally Fine is one of the promising Japanese comedy movies.

 

6. Suite Dreams – 2006

One of the highest-grossing domestic films at the Japanese box office in 2006, Suite Dreams is a film filled with a lot of fun.

At midnight on New Year’s Eve, people in a five star Tokyo hotel meet in an unexpected, dramatic, and hilarious way. The annual peaceful celebration becomes a night of riot. A suspected mistress, a suicidal theater actor, a hiding senator, and many more characters make this film colorful and exciting.

 

5. Oh! My Zombie Mermaid – 2004

 

With many twists along the way, Oh! My Zombie Mermaid keeps its viewers waiting for the next scene.

The popular wrestler ShiShioh builds a mansion which is destroyed by another rival wrestler. Shishioh’s wife, Asami, gets hospitalized and catches a rare virus turning her into a mermaid. Shishioh joins a reality TV show that makes him fight weird opponents.

Oh! My Zombie Mermaid is not your typical comedy movie that brings a new experience on the big screen.

4. What a Wonderful Family! – 2016

 

What if a family member’s happiness is painful to the rest?  What a Wonderful Family! is a movie that will make you laugh hard but will also make you cry.

The old couple Shuzo Hirata and Tomiko Hirata have been married for 50 years. On Tomiko’s birthday, Shuzo asks his wife about the present she wants. Tomiko says she wants a divorce. The whole family reacts resulting in chaos.

 

3. Waterboys – 2001

Passion will always find a way out. Waterboys is about one’s pursuit of passion.

Suzuki aspires to be a professional swimmer. When a new swimming teacher arrives in his school, he joins with many other students. When the teacher told them she teaches synchronized swimming, many members of the club quit.

Suzuki found another problem when the swimming teacher takes maternity leave. He then asks a dolphin trainer to train them but gets rejected. Soon after, the trainer decides to help them, especially that competition is approaching.

2. Funky Forest: The First Contact – 2006

An out of this world comedy, Funky Forest: First Contact brings back memories of childhood of pure joy.

The brothers Masaichi, Masaru and Masao want attention from girls. They finally have a picnic with some beautiful girls. Daydreaming, sci-fi, comedy and many other elements, Funky Forest takes comedy into a new different level.

 

1. Too Young To Die! – 2016

Top on the list of Japanese comedy movies is the musical comedy Too Young to Die.

Daisuke wakes up from an accident. He finds himself in hell. He meets Killer K, the lead guitarist and vocalist of the rock band Hells. Killer K tries to help Daisuke return to the land of the living and finally confess his feelings to the girl he loves.

 

Conclusion

The Japanese definitely bring new stuff to the big screen. With their colorful and rich tradition and culture, their movies give a fresh experience to everyone. So, if you are looking for something new to add to your comedy experience, go back to this list of Japanese comedy movies for your satisfaction.

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20 Best Japanese Historical Films

Aside from books, one of the ways to learn about a country’s rich history is through movies. Japanese cinema is widely-known for successfully producing films that depicted Japan’s rich history. So why don’t you sit back, relax and enjoy as we take a look back in the past with these best Japanese Historical films of all time!

 

1.  Always: Sunset on Third Street (2005)

The first of our best Japanese historical films takes us back to 1958 Japan. It gives us a glance of Japan’s rising economy after its upheaval caused by the war. The film’s story also took place at the time of Tokyo Tower’s construction.

Always: Sunset on Third Street, mainly tells the story of different people living in the neighborhood, as they each start anew with their lives.

This film hit the 15th spot at Japan’s box office in 2005 and won 12 awards at the 2006 Japanese Academy Awards. It also got the audience award in 2006 at the New York Asian Film Festival.

 

2.  Abacus and Sword (2010)

Let’s take further back into history as we go back to the Meiji Restoration Period during the last days of the Edo Era. This film features the story of a low-ranking Samurai and his struggling family. Instead of using a sword, he uses his mathematical ability to save his household from bankruptcy.

This movie reflects much of Japan’s culture and history at the time where Japan transitions to western-style modernization.

 

3.  Mumon (2017)

Mumon is a film set around the 16th century Japan, where it depicts the disputes between the Samurai clan and the Iga Ninja clan. The fictional story in the film took place during the Tensho Iga War.

The story revolves around a strong but lazy ninja who wants to earn money to give to his wife. He kills a Samurai for reward, but this killing led to a deadly battle between the two clans.

The film was widely accepted by the audience nationwide where it was considered to be the most successful film in its time.

 

4.  Bubble Fiction: Boom or Bust (2007)

This next movie will bring us from 2007 back to Japan in the 1990’s. The film gives us a glimpse of Japan during 1990 when it suffered from the massive bubble inflation.

It all began when inventor Mariko Tanaka, reconstructed a washing machine for time travel. The Japanese government compelled Mariko to go back to 1990, to stop the passing of the law that caused the massive inflation that hit the country.

There is no other film among the best Japanese historical films that successfully portrayed Japan’s bubble era as this one. The differences in technology between the two generations were highlighted in a fun way. Also adding the cameo appearances of some celebrities back in the 90s adds more fun and entertainment in watching this movie.

                                                                                  

5.  Yoko the Cherry Blossom (2015)

Let us go back again in time as this next movie is set to war-stricken 1940’s Japan. This movie featured the true to life story of Masaaki Takaoka, an agricultural teacher at a school in a rural village in Shikoku Island.

In fear of young men being sent off to war where hardly any return, he devises a new strain of Sakura tree that could thrive in extreme climates and temperatures. He planted the Sakura trees in lieu of the graves of his students that died in the war.

This film that was written and directed by Gen Takahashi gives us a hindsight of the feelings and experiences of the citizens in Japan during the war.

 

6.  Ran (1985)

Ran is a 1985 historical film by Akira Kurosawa. It dates back to the Sengoku Warring States Period of Japan, also known as the Sengoku Period.

A Japanese warlord, in time of his retirement, decides to divide the land to his three sons. Taro and Jiro, the eldest and the second son respectively, agreed to their father’s plan. But the youngest son, Saburo said otherwise, doubting that his brothers will keep the land in unity.

Because of this, Saburo was banished by his father. When their father retires, Taro and Jiro, in their selfish schemes, cause war in the land. Now Saburo must return in time to save his father.

This film of all the best Japanese historical films is considered to be the perfect and classic depiction of the Sengoku period where an all-out war of brothers against each other enrages.

 

7.  The Lower Depths (1957)

Returning to the Edo Period Japan, we will view the lives of the people who lived and thrived in poverty.

An elderly couple named Rokubei and Osugi leased out rooms and beds to the poor. The tenants were usually gamblers, prostitutes and small-time thieves. Sutekichi, a self-proclaimed tenement leader is having an affair with Osugi but is more attracted to Osugi’s younger sister, Okayo.

Soon a series of unfortunate events took place that led Sutekichi to kill Rokubei. But out of his anger with Osugi, Sutekichi claimed that  Osugi urged him to kill his husband. In the end, both Sutekichi and Osugu end up in jail.

This film was one among the best Japanese historical films directed by Akira Kurosawa and was rated 80% approval on Rotten Tomatoes based on five reviews.

 

8.  The Twilight Samurai (2002)

The Twilight Samurai is set in 1868 during the Bakumatsu Civil War Era. It’s a film that reflects the lives of the lower-class Samurai a few years before the Meiji Restoration. This film is the first installment of Yoji Yamada’s Samurai Trilogy.

It follows the life of Seibei, a widowed, lower-class Samurai working as a civil-servant to support his two daughters. His colleagues mock him by calling him “Tasogare” (Twilight), as he chooses to head home right away after work, instead of having a drink with other Samurai.

His life changes when his childhood first love, Tomoe, returns back to their town. Tomoe, divorced from his drunkard husband, gets along with Seibei’s daughters. Seibei is now faced with conflicting issues involving his work, family and love life.

This film received many awards and nominations. Among which is a nomination for Best Foreign Language Film at the 76th Academy Awards, and 12 awards from the Japanese Academy Awards.

 

9.  The Hidden Blade (2004)

Next up is the second part of Yoji Yamada’s Samurai Trilogy, where it depicts the last remaining days of the Samurai in 1860s Japan.

The story begins where two Samurai, Katagiri and Shimada bid goodbye to their friend Hazama to serve under the Shogunate of the Edo (now Tokyo) region.

Katagiri and Shimada went on to live their lives. Shimada ends up marrying Katagiri’s sister. However, with the changing times, Katagiri and Shimada were forced to learn westernized weaponry techniques.

An overturn of events took place when a frustrated uprising against the Shogun that involved Hazama. Hazama was sent back to their village but denied of committing Seppuku because of bringing dishonor to the clan. Instead, Hazama is doomed to life imprisonment.

Katagiri and the other Samurai, is faced with the challenges that came with the inevitable changes of Japan’s modernization.

 

10. Love and Honour (2006)

Love and Honour is the third and last installment of director Yamada’s Samurai trilogy film.

The movie revolves around the lives of a low-class Samurai and his wife, whose love for each other was tested within the flames of lies and deception.

Shinnojo, a low-class Samurai now working as a food-taster for a feudal Lord, accidentally goes blind as he was poisoned by a whelk sashimi. In order to survive, Kayo seeks the help of Toya Shimada, a high class Samurai. He offered to help but in exchange for something from Kayo.

Soon, Shinnojo finds out and divorces Kayo out of anger. Later on, he figured that the help did not come from Shimada himself, but from the Lord of a wealthy clan. He avenges Shimada by cutting his right arm.

Shimada, now unable to live as a Samurai, commits Seppuku. In the end, Shinnojo and Kayo reconciled and started their relationship anew.

 

11.  Goyokin (1969)

Goyokin is a film directed by Hideo Gosha. It tells the story of Tatsuya Nakadai, a Samurai turned Ronin, driven by guilt after failing to stop the massacre committed by his own clan. With the help of faithful friends, he sets forth to stop another massacre from taking place. He endured hardship in order to make amends for his past mistakes.

Goyokin, a name which means “gold” in Japanese is a film that tells the rich history of Sado, an island west coast of Japan. Sado is known as a gold mining island in the Edo Period where shogunates sent prisoners to dig in the gold mines.

 

12.  Sansho the Bailiff (1954)

This movie is directed by Kenji Mizoguchi. It is based on a short story title of the same written by Mori Ogai. Sansho the Bailiff is set around the Heian Era, regarded as the peak of Japanese classical civilization.

It tells the story of a governor and his family who were sent into exile. The governor later on was separated from his wife and his children. Their children, Zushio and Anju grow up in the midst of slavery. The two must find their way to look for their long lost mother.

Sansho the Bailiff won the Silver Lion award at the 15th Venice International Film Festival.

 

13. Sword of the Stranger (2007)

Sword of the Stranger is set during the Sengoku Period, where it is considered to be one of the most brutal periods of civil war in Japanese history. It follows the story of a young boy named Kotaro, who is chased down by Ming swordsmen.

Along the way, Kotaro will find Nanashi, a Ronin with a dark past that made him not to draw his sword ever again. Together, they set off a journey as they battle against the Ming warriors.

This is a Japanese animated film directed by Masahiro Ando. This film won the award for best Animated film at FANTASPOA in Brazil.

 

14. The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi (2003)

An ordinary, blind swordsman, Zatoichi, arises to defend the town people threatened by a local Yakuza gang war to pay large amounts of protection money. Zatoichi helped two Geisha siblings, who want to avenge the death of their parents. To his discovery, the Yakuza are the ones responsible for the murders. He goes into a perilous conquest of defeating the Yakuza gang.

This is one of the best Japanese historical films set around the 1800s during the Edo Era. The movie depicts a part in the Edo Period, upon the birth of Yakuza, where ordinary people are caught up in gang wars. The emergence of Yakuza at the time played a huge role in shaping Japan’s history.

 

15.  The Ballad of Narayama (1983)

According to the 19th century Japan tradition, if a person is approaching 70 years old, he or she is to practice “Ubasute”, where one should climb a mountain until they die of starvation.

The story tells about Orin, who is 69 and is now preparing her family for her departure. She spends the entire year arranging everything for her family, even helping his son to get married. The film successfully portrayed the harsh conditions of life viewed from the eyes of the villagers during this time.

This film by Shohei Imamura won several awards and nominations in its time. Among these is the Palme d’Or at the 1983 Cannes Film Festival.

 

16.  13 Assassins (2010)

A 2010 film directed by Takashi Miike, 13 Assassins is a film broadly based on historical events that took place in 1844. 13 assassins plotted the murder of the brutal leader of Akashi Clan, Lord Matsudaira Naritsugu.

A Samurai named Shimada Shinzaemon, was summoned by the Shogun Justice Ministry, to conspire an assassination plot to stop the exploits of Lord Naritsugu. Shimada gathers 11 more Samurai and planned the assassination with support and help coming from the Shogun Justice Ministry. But before they knew it, Hanbei, a loyal servant of Naritsugu, devised a plot to impede them.

They were driven to the mountains, where they met the 13th assassin, a hunter named Kiga, who helped them find their way back. Together they engage in a bloody battle against the 200 soldiers to kill Naritsugu. In the end Naritsugu lost his life in the hands of Shimada.

It was widely-acclaimed worldwide. It has a 95% score with 7.9/10 score based on 128 reviews.

 

17.  Red Beard (1965)

Red Beard is the last black and white film directed by Akira Kurosawa. This follows the story of two doctors faced with the social injustice that existed during the 19th century. It highlights the story of Dr. Yasumoto, whose view on life changes as he encountered several patients at a rural clinic he was assigned to.

This film was a major box office film after its release in 1965. It has an average 73% score on Rotten Tomatoes based on 15 critics’ reviews.

 

18.  The Life of Oharu (1952)

The Life of Oharu is a 1952 black and white film by Kenji Mizoguchi. It is about the tragic tale of a woman named Oharu who went through several misfortunes as a result of the stigma of being a prostitute.

This novel based movie portrayed the gender issues and the women’s role in society during the 1600s Edo Period in Japan.

This film won the International Prize at the 1952 Venice International Film Festival.  This also gained the Mainichi Film Concours in 1953 for best film score.

 

19.  Seven Samurai (1954)

One of the best Japanese historical films by Akira Kurosawa, Seven Samurai takes us back to 1586, during the Sengoku Period where civil war ensued chaos and lawlessness among the people living in the countryside.

Village farmers decided to hire seven Ronin to fight bandits that steal the crops after the harvest. In its first year of release, the film sold up to ¥268 million, ranking third highest-grossing film of 1954. Widely accepted by the international scene, it has a 100% approval from Rotten Tomatoes based on 60 reviews.

 

20.  Kagemusha (1980)

Now let us end this list again, with an Akira Kurosawa direction. Kagemusha is a Japanese term used to describe a political decoy. It follows the story of a low class criminal who imitates a dying Daimyo to impede the rival Lords from attacking the Daimyo’s  clan.

The film is notable for its depiction of the 1575 Battle of Nagashino, one of the greatest battles that occurred toward the end of the Sengoku Era.

This film also got the Palme d’Or in the 1980 Cannes Film Festival. It received a lot of awards and nominations by several award giving entities. This also highlighted Kurosawa’s success in the international scene.

 

 

All things come to an end as they say. But I hope you enjoyed this journey as we look back to Japan’s beautiful history. Watching the best Japanese historical films is certainly a great way to enjoy as you reminisce about the past that shaped Japan.

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19 Best Japanese Crime Movies

One of the known and favorite entertainment genres of moviegoers is Crime. The puzzling scenes and mind-blowing plot make a crime film interesting. And the Japanese have their own style of putting that into the big screen. Using its unique and rich culture and tradition, the Japanese crime movies can really stand out.

The list below gives you the 19 Best Japanese Crime Movies that will surely entertain you.

19. Sonatine – 1993

Award-winning film of Takeshi Kitano and rated 7.5/10 by IMDb, Sonatine wows the world with how Yakuza settle things.

Aniki Murakawa joins a group of Yakuza going to Okinawa. They are sent there to end a gang war. Confused by his role, Aniki finds some of his men dead. He stays in a house by the beach and realizes that everything is a setup.

The numerous awards received by Sonatine proves that it is one of the Japanese crime movies you should watch.

18. A Colt is My Passport – 1967

Based on the novel Tobosha by Shinji Fujihara, A Colt Is My Passport stars a skillful hitman and his reliable sniper.

Shuji Kamimura is a contract killer. He gets paid for assassinating his targets usually with the help of Shun Shiozaki, his sidekick. A Yakuza boss hires them to kill a rival boss. They hit their target but fail to escape their target’s gang members.

With a 7.5/10 IMDb rating, A Colt is My Passport is sure to satisfy your action crime movie cravings.

 

17. Pale Flower – 1964

Considered to be Masahiro Shinoda’s masterpiece, Pale Flower reveals a story bigger than just being a Yakuza.

The Yakuza hitman, Muraki gets released from prison. The world he knew has changed and he needs to adjust. He meets Saeko who enjoys gambling and likes chasing thrills. As their paths cross, troubles await Muraki.

A 7.8/10 IMDb rating is given to Pale Flower for its superb quality.

16. Cops vs. Thugs – 1975

Receiving Best Director and Best Actor, Cops vs. Thugs will surely make you hold on your seat.

Hirotani uses his friendship with Kuno and abuses his false power to take control of Kurashima City. Another gang related to Kuno wants to take control of the city. A gang war erupts. Kuno gets into trouble as he is confused about which side to choose.

With conflicting interests of the characters, Cops vs. Thugs is one of the Japanese crime movies that is more than just being a crime film. A 7.2/10 IMDb rating is given to the movie.

15. The Wolves – 1971

With popularity it gained outside Japan, The Wolves tells a story of brotherhood betrayal.

Killing the boss of the Kanno gang, Seji Iwahashi gets imprisoned for ten years. Fortunately, he is released earlier than the set time. He returns to his gang to find out the merging with the Kanno gang. As he discovers the corruption, another bloodshed awaits to happen.

14. Sympathy for the Underdog – 1971

Considered to be one of the best Yakuza movies, Sympathy for the Underdog shows what being a man really means and defines Yakuza from Samurai.

A Yboss, Gunji and his men were kicked out of Yokohama by a powerful gang from Tokyo. He gets released from prison after ten years. He searches for his few remaining loyal members to start once again in Okinawa. As Gunji completes his force, the same Tokyo gang arrives to kick them out again. A bloody confrontation awaits.

You may watch this movie to see the difference between yakuza and Samurai.

13. Vengeance is Mine – 1979

Based on the true story of the serial killer Akira Nishiguchi, Vengeance is Mine deserves a spot in the best Japanese crime movies.

With an unexplainable desire to commit murder, Iwao Enokizu becomes a serial killer.  He manages to escape the authority every time he gets caught. Later on, hee falls in love with Haru who runs a brothel. Will he change now that he has found love or still give in to his insane urge?

The awards Best Picture, Best Screenplay, and Best Actor make Vengeance is Mine one of the best Japanese crime movies. The 7.8/10 rating by IMDb makes this movie a good watch.

12. Ichi the Killer – 2001

A psychotic killer, Ichi inflicts unimaginable pain to his victims. Ichi the Killer sets a new standard for violence and bloodshed in Japanese film.

With 300 million yen, the Yakuza boss Anjo disappears. His loyal member Kakihara then searches for him. He captures and tortures a wrong guy, Jijii. He gets an idea from Jijii that Ichi killed Anjo. A bloody confrontation follows satisfying the psycho Ichi.

11. The Blood of Wolves – 2018

Winning major awards and nominations, The Blood of Wolves revives the fading reputation of the Yakuza movie in Japan.

A new detective, Hioka finds himself doubting Ogami of breaking the law. He suspects that Ogami has connections with the gangs. Later, Hioka is assigned to investigate the case of a missing accountant. His search leads him into an action-packed gang war.

The Blood of Wolves sheds light again to Yakuza theme movies, making it a great addition to the list of best Japanese crime movies.

10. Kamikaze Taxi – 1995

Kamikaze is a known Japanese military approach where a faithful soldier commits to suicide bombing. Kamikaze Taxi makes use of the strategy in his revenge plan.

Tatsuo plans a Kamikaze mission to take revenge for his girlfriend. His girlfriend returns beaten after giving a politician her service. Animaru, gang boss, kills her when she starts complaining. Tatsuo plans to vandalize the politician’s house and then later on steals his money. Tatsuo flees riding a taxi driven by Kantake.

With a 7.4/10 IMDb rating, Kamikaze Taxi makes an exciting action crime film.

 

9. Battles Without Honor and Humanity Volume 1

Another film that redefines Yakuza film, Battles Without Honor and Humanity tells a story of a firm criminal surviving Yakuza life.

Shozo Hirono gets involved in powerful Yakuza clans. He needs to adjust to the changes of powers around him.

Battles Without Honor and Humanity is inspired by real-life yakuza Kozo Mino. The movie series is composed of five films directed by Kinji Kukasaku. All movies are high-grossing box-office hit crime drama films.

 

8. Massacre Gun – 1967

Another awesome Yakuza crime film, Massacre Gun is a brutal and silly gangster movie.

Ryûichi Kuroda kills his innocent girlfriend Aiko at the command of his boss Akazawa. Then, he decides to leave the gang and starts his own gang with his brother Eiji. However, Ryuichi still wants revenge, so he attacks one of the bars of Akazawa to send him a message. Ryuichi starts attacking and taking over some of the small businesses of Akazawa. As the conflict becomes more violent, it involves more deaths. Both are desiring to hold the highest position but only one must become the boss.

If you are looking for an extreme gang war crime movie, this one’s for you!

 

7. Violent Cop – 1989

Violent Cop shares the story of a cop who has a different style of confronting lawbreakers. Is his way justified with the results he gets?

Detective Azuma has his own way of approaching law violators. Violence seems to be useful for him in getting results. He is assigned to investigate a series of homicides. He then learns that his friend and colleague Iwaki is involved in a crime. Iwaki supplies drugs from within the police.

With the circumstances becoming complicated and dangerous, Iwaki commits suicide. Moreover, detective Azuma’s sister is kidnapped. Azuma reacts violently, putting authority in his hands. He becomes more violent to get the justice he wants.

 

6. Cure – 1997

Praised to be one of the greatest films of all time, Cure finds its spot in the list of best Japanese crime movies.

The only clue to many records of murder across Tokyo is the mark “X”. Detective Takabe notices that the murderers leave the mark into the neck of the victims. Together with the psychologist Sakuma, they see the murderer remembering nothing. Detective Takabe arrests a weird young man near the scene. As he assumes that the young man is connected to the killings.

7.4/10 IMDb rating sets the movie Cure a considerable crime film.

 

5. Memoirs of a Murderer – 2017

Memoirs of a Murderer is packed with plot twists, making this film exciting to watch.

In 2017, Masato Sonezaki confesses that he is a murderer. He says that he is responsible for the five mysterious murders in 1995. 22 years after the five mysterious murder cases, the police tell Masato that the law has a loophole, so they cannot arrest him.

Masato then publishes a book and becomes known. After some time, another man turns himself as the murderer. But the truth is both of them are not the real murderer.

Masato shares that he wants to find out the real killer by making a scene, as he wants to know who murdered his girlfriend. Soon after, the real murderer is identified

 

4. Killers – 2014

Killers shares a bigger story than just being a thriller crime film. Including an Indonesian actor, this movie offers a great experience.

The wealthy Japanese Nomura Shuhei records his murder acts and posts them online. While in Jakarta, the journalist Bayu Aditya gets triggered by Nomura’s videos. Bayu soon decides to kill and records his violent crimes as well. He shares his video as well online. Nomura does his crime out of his mental state while Bayu justifies his crimes as he only kills the bad guys. The two meet and engage in killing each other.

Killers makes a great movie experience with the surprises in its plot.

 

3. Late Bloomer – 2014

Late Bloomers tells what loneliness and frustration can do to a man.

Sumida Masakiyo is a wheelchair dependent man. He lives his life with a voice machine and help from a carer. Like a normal person, Sumida wishes to experience hanging out, beer, rock and roll, and women. Sumida meets Nobuko, a college student. He secretly falls in love with her. Everything changes when his best friend steals Nobuko from him. His loneliness and frustration build up until he can no longer calm himself. The shy Sumida falls into committing a series of murders.

 

2. Boiling Point – 1990

Boiling Point will make its viewers remember the warning “do not talk or trust strangers”.

Ono Masahiko is a member of his local baseball team. One day, his baseball coach got attacked by a local Yakuza. He then decides to take revenge for his coach. He sets off to Okinawa with his friend and meets the psychotic Yakuza Uehara. Without telling Ono, Uehara has planned his own revenge.

1. Drunken Angel – 1948

Drunken Angel keeps its crime genre with a touch of drama. Rated 7.7/10 by IMDb and directed by the legendary Akira Kurosawa, this film will leave its viewers with a different impression of Yakuza.

The hot-tempered Doctor Sanada and prone to violence gangster Matsunaga became friends. After a shootout, Sanada helped Matsunaga with his wounds. Sanada is surprised that despite being a Yakuza clan member, Matsunaga keeps a tender side. Matsunaga falls into depression when he learns from Sanada that he has tuberculosis. Okada, Matsunaga’s boss, is preparing him to be the top leader of the gang.

Knowing his illness, Matsunaga needs to choose between running the Yakuza gang or treat his tuberculosis and make his life meaningful.

In the making of this movie, director Kurosawa, fell into depression when his father died. He decided to pour his emotion in Drunken Angel, making this movie too personal for him.

Conclusion

The movie genre crime sure brings something different to the big screen. Unlike some predictable romance films or usual drama movies with a recycled plot and turnout of events, crime movies keep their viewers thrilled and excited. So, if you are considering getting a new movie experience, crime films are the best for you! Go through the list of best Japanese crime movies above once more, and see what catches your curiosity.

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17 Best Horror Movies from Japan

Horror films have been a part of our lives since its existence. Some remarkable horror films have shocked, thrilled and scared the hell out of us in the best ways imaginable. From ghosts, spirits to supernatural and gory scenes, these horror movies from Japan will surely make you cover your faces with one eye!

 

1.)  Audition (1999)

Audition is one of the best horror movies from Japan that was directed by one of Japan’s legendary directors, Takashi Miike. Audition is about a widowed television producer looking for a new girlfriend. He sets off a fake movie audition to look for the woman he was looking for.

Eventually, he meets Asami, a beautiful, innocent looking woman who captured his heart. But there’s more than meets the eye. Little did he know that Asami is not what he thinks she is.

 

2.) Kwaidan (1964)

“Kwaidan” is a Japanese word which literally translates as “ghost story”. Kwaidan is a film directed by Masaki Kobayashi. This movie is composed of four different short films inspired from classic Japanese stories written by Lafcadio Hearn.

After its release in 1964, the film was well received by the audience. The film was awarded a Special Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival and received a nomination for an Academy Award for the Best Foreign Language.

 

3.) Onibaba (1964)

This classic tale was set during the feudal Japan. The title of the film was named after a monster of the same name from a Japanese folklore. The word “Onibaba” means “Devil Woman”.

It tells the story of two women suffering from war-torn Japan, who killed Samurai and stole their belongings in order to live. Suddenly a demon-masked stranger appears that turned their lives around.

Another classic written and directed by Kaneto Shindo, this movie tells a classic eerie tale that will fit your taste for a horror movie.

 

4.) Ringu (1998)

This is one of the few horror movies from Japan that inspired a 2002 American remake. The film was well-acclaimed and accepted by various audiences. Ringu follows the mystery of a haunted videotape that kills anyone who watches it in seven days.

The film is also inspired from a Japanese folklore portraying ghosts dressed in white and with long, creepy black hair. Although its remake The Ring was well-acclaimed on its own, still, nothing beats the original!

 

5.) Suicide Club (2001)

Suicide Club or more known as Suicide Circle in Japan, is one of the most controversial films ever released in the history. The film revolves on a series of mass suicides in Japan. Because of its controversial theme, this movie caused a stir in various movie festivals. From start to finish, this movie will give the chills you are looking for in a movie.

 

6.) Dark Water (2002)

This horror-drama film was inspired by a short story written by Koji Suzuki. It was directed by Hideo Nakata and was released in 2002. This was one of the horror movies from Japan that inspired a remake.

When the wife is confronted with a divorce, she and her daughter moves into a creepy, run-down apartment. A seemingly normal water leak started to spread in the ceiling. Strange things also started to occur at the apartment.

Aside from its horror taste, this also tells the story of a mother’s undying love for her child.

 

7.) Infection (2004)

Infection (“Kansen” in Japanese) is a classic horror film in 2004 by Masayuki Ochiai. This film is one of the horror movies from Japan that will give you the shock you are looking for from a movie. Infection is also considered as a somewhat zombie-themed movie.

The movie follows the story of a patient who suddenly went into the hospital with a severe infection but died untreated. Then one by one the hospital staff gets infected with this disease.

 

8.) Sadako Vs. Kayako (2016)

If you are looking for a great horror movie crossover, this movie is one of the horror movies from Japan you should see. Sadako from The Ring and Kayako from The Grudge are featured to team-up in this movie.

This film was released in 2016 directed by Koji Shiraishi. This film was also notable for its excellent special effects. Not only that, it is a movie worth watching where the two characters, Sadako and Kayako, stood out on their own.

 

9.) Hausu (1977)

Hausu (House) is a 1977 film by Nobuhiko Obayashi. The idea for this film rose when the director was asked to create a film similar to the famous “Jaws” movie. Instead of a flesh-eating killer creature, the director made it a film about a house eating humans.

This movie does not give you what you might expect, but Hausu is definitely one of the movies you should watch.

 

10.) Tetsuo: The Iron Man (1989)

This film is one among the Japanese horror movies directed by the famous cult classic director Shinya Tsukamoto. It is a cyberpunk film that was followed by two films: Tetsuo II: Body Hammer (1992) and Tetsuo III: The Bullet Man (2009).

An ordinary man accidentally killed a guy after hitting him with a car. Afraid of being caught, the man dumped the guy’s corpse in the woods. After the incident, metal parts started to grow in the man’s body that changed his normal life.

During its first release, it was hardly accepted by the audience. Not so until this movie was recognized at a famous horror film festival in Rome. Since then it gained more audiences and praises from the viewers.

 

11.) Uzumaki (2000)

“Uzumaki” is a Japanese word which literally translates to “Spiral” in english. This film was directed by Akihiro Higuchi. The movie was inspired from a manga classic written by Junji Ito.

A normal school girl named Kirie suddenly finds herself in a town where all the people are becoming obsessed in spiral shapes. These spirals seem to have taken over the whole town and its people. Kirie must find a way to save the town from this mad obsession.

 

12.) One Missed Call (2003)

One Missed Call is a 2003 supernatural horror film directed by Takashi Miike. It is inspired from a novel entitled, “Chakushin Ari” written by Yakushi Akimoto.

It almost follows the same plot as in Ringu and Ju-on: The Grudge, except that a person will die after receiving a phone call from the future. A person will receive a mysterious phone call informing them on how they will die.

 

13.) Exte: Hair Extensions (2007)

If you are the hair conscious type of person, this movie would certainly catch your attention. From the title itself, killer hair extensions will surely give you the creeps.

A hair stylist named Kuriyama becomes the love interest of a man named Yamazaki who sells hair extensions to various salons in the town. The hair used for the extensions comes from a dead girl’s corpse whose hair still grows into a beautiful rich black hair. Whoever used these hair extensions will either go insane or die.

This movie was one of the Japanese horror movies directed by Sion Sono. This movie was also released in the United States with the same title.

 

14.) Kuroneko: The Black Cat (1968)

Another horror movie blast from the past, this film depicts a classic tale of horror and heart-breaking love story that will make you watch until the end. This classic theatrical piece was inspired from a Japanese folklore dating back to medieval Japan.

The story starts with two women being attacked and gang-raped by a dozen Samurai. After which, their hut was burned down, but their bodies remained intact. They came back as vengeful spirits luring Samurai and killing them.

If you are searching for a classic horror movie, this one might be a good pick for you. Why don’t you try and see for yourself?

 

15.) Battle Royale (2000)

A decade before The Hunger Games invaded the movie theaters, a Japanese action-horror movie film of the same was released in 2000 but with more blood-shedding and action scenes.

Story revolves around a multitude of ninth-grade students who were forced by the Japanese government to slaughter one another until only one survives. The scenes will surely keep you at your seats as the scenes get intense one after the other.

 

16.) Godzilla (1954)

This second to the last movie in our list might be somewhat familiar to all of us. The Godzilla films we’ve known were made by American producers, but the inspiration from these films actually originated from Japan!

Godzilla is considered as the classic Japanese monster that first appeared in the 1954 film entitled, “Gujira” by Ishiro Honda.

 

17.) Ju-On: The Grudge

Now down to our last film on the list, this film is surely one of the best horror movies from Japan. The Grudge was well known for its gore and tension-building suspense scenes that will definitely give you nightmares.

 

 

Now there you go! If you are looking for movies that will make you scream and give you the utmost chills, watching these horror movies from Japan will definitely do!

 

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15 Best Japanese Romantic Movies

The Japanese are not only known for Samurai themed films or anime. When it comes to romance films, you can be sure that Japanese Romantic Movies have something new to offer.

From the colorful history and culture to the advanced present Japan, love exists and will always find a way to be told.

If you are looking for a new perspective or film experience, try these 15 Best Japanese Romantic Movies.

 

15. I Give My First Love to You

I Give My First Love to You is a 2009 Japanese film based on a manga by Kotomi Aoki. Masaki Okada who played the leading man won the award of the Newcomer of the Year at the 2010 Japanese Academy Awards for his role in the film.

Takuma and Mayu are childhood friends. They fall in love with each other, aware of the future ahead of them. Takuma has heart disease that limits his time. Mayu loves him unconditionally. With the time running, is it still right to give love a chance to grow?

A box-office hit in its first week, I Give My First Love to You is one of the Japanese Romantic Movies that is sure to touch your heart deeply.

 

14. Heavenly Forest

Heavenly Forest presents a charming college romance. Rated 7.6/10 by IMDb, the movie shows how young love grows over time.

Makoto grows special feelings for Shizuru and Miyuki. Shizuru became close first to Makoto and learns his interest, photography. They became close friends that eventually grew into special affection. But Makoto meets Miyuki who is more beautiful than Shizuru. Makoto gets attracted and decides to pursue Miyuki. Shizuru, deeply hurt, leaves and promises that Makoto will be sorry for his decision.

 

13. 100th Love with You

Love takes time. It grows by falling with the same person again and again. One of the cutest Japanese romantic movies, The 100th Love with You casts university students who get many chances to fall in love.

Musicians Riku and Aoi make perfect harmony, not only as bandmates, but as lovers. One day, Aoi gets into a tragic accident that makes her hopeless to a new day. When she wakes up, she finds herself in her classroom one week before the accident. Riku reveals to Aoi that he controls time by going back. As they travel back in time, they realize the growing love between them.

Another box-office hit film, The 100th Love with You gets a remake with Chinese-language adaptation.

 

12. Love Letter

Love Letter is an emotional roller-coaster romantic film. This award-winning Japanese movie will keep you waiting for the next scenes.

Love Letter tells the story of  Itsuki Fujii who dies in a mountain climbing accident, leaving his fiancee Hiroko Watanabe broken. Moving on, Hiroko writes a letter addressed to the house of dead Itsuki. A reply arrives at her house. She finds a woman who is named Itsuki Fujii. They both write letters to each other. Hiroko continues her healing while Itsuki discovers a portrait of her sketched by the dead Itsuki Fujii.

A box-office hit, highest-grossing film with a well-written plot, Love Letter leaves viewers a new experience.

 

11. Evergreen Love

Based on a romance novel, Evergreen Love tells us that love will find its way home. Directed by Koichiro Miki, it reminds us that love can be simple yet so true if you find the right one for you.

Sayaka, who is known to be bad at everything, finds the unconscious Itsuki in front of her house. She takes her inside her house. Itsuki lives with her and teaches her how to collect and cook wild herbs. Sayaka opens up to him while Itsuki keeps his secrets.

 

10. Be with You

Rated 7.9/10 by IMDb, Be with You tempts its viewers to hope on love that is already buried. With drama, fantasy, and romance, Be with You will make you wish for another chance at love.

Mio Aio’s death leaves Takumi, her husband, and Yuji, her six-year-old son, lost and in pain. Takumi blames himself for the death of his wife, while Yuji thinks that he endangered his mom’s health when he was born. Yuji recalls the story of his mom that she will return in the following year’s raining season. He waits and soon finds Mio outside their house. She does not remember anything.

Be with You is one of the Japanese Romantic Movies that gets a remake proving the beauty of its story.

 

9. Josee, the Tiger and the FIsh

There is no basis when one falls in love. That is what Josee, the Tiger and the Fish brings into the silver screen. With a 7.5/10 IMDb rating, this movie is a good watch.

Tsuneo, a university student, sees a baby carriage dashing down the street. He runs to the carriage to check it. He is surprised to see a woman, Josee, holding a knife. He learns about her disability and since then, he regularly visits Josee in her house.

The romantic movie is rumored to have an anime adaptation by Bones, an anime studio, which will air this year.

 

8. A Gentle Breeze in the Village

A Gentle Breeze in the Village is the film adaptation of the manga Tennen Kokekkō. Fusako Kuramochi wrote and illustrated the manga which received the 20th Kodansha Manga Award in 1996.

Soyo Migita leads her simple life as one of the six students in her elementary/middle school. Everything changes when Hiromi Osawa transfers. Soyo finds herself bothered by thoughts of Hiromi and soon finds that she likes the transferee.

Gentle Breeze in the Village is one of the Japanese Romantic Movies that received numerous recognition within and outside Japan.

 

7. Love Exposure

Love Exposure, a four-hour movie, is sure to satisfy its viewers with themes of romance, family, lust and religion. With more than ten awards, Love Exposure is worth your time.

Yu Honda grew up as an innocent boy with good moral values. He goes into a journey to see the different world outside him. Yu meets people who lead him to commit sins he has no idea. His innocence gets corrupted when his path crosses with the love of his life Yoko and the obsessed Aya.

Considered as one of the best Japanese films of the 21st century, Love Exposure is not your ordinary romantic movie.

 

6. From Me to You

From Me to You received 234 million yen on its first showing weekend. With warm welcome from people, this movie deserves a try.

Students avoid Sawako because she looks like Sadako, the ghost from the horror movie The Ring. Students bully her because of that, but in real life she lives with the motto “do one good thing once a day”. On the first day of school, she helps Shota Kahezaya who seems lost at school. The two develop friendship that soon grows to a special feeling.

From Me to You is one of the Japanese Romantic Movies that might make you remember your young love.

 

5. Heroine Disqualified

When love knocks on your heart, open your heart and do not let it go. Heroine Disqualified reminds you to go after the person who makes your heart skip.

Hatori Matsuzaki has been keeping her special feelings towards Rita Terasaka. Soon after, Rita sees his growing feelings towards Hatori. Once they attend a festival and Rita kisses Hatori. Adachi, the girlfriend of Rita, learns about what happened in the festival and faints. Rita feels guilty and leaves Hatori. Though Rita chooses Adachi, he knows who makes his heart beat.

Heroine Disqualified shows young love and teaches its viewers that love is worth fighting for.

 

4. I Just Wanna Hug You

I Just Wanna Hug You is based from a true to life story of a woman left paralyze after an accident. Under the direction of Akihiko Shiota, this film presents real love and real life people we can learn from.

Tsubasa faces a life different from what she used to live. After the car accident, Tsubasa needs to go through each day living with a half paralyzed body on a wheelchair. She meets the taxi driver Masami and they both fall in love with each other. It is truly a wonderful picture of love until they encounter a difficult situation.

I Just Wanna Hug You is not just a romantic film but also one that includes family. Watch the film with your loved ones and tissue beside you.

 

3. My Little Monster

My Little Monster tells us that love is powerful enough to change a person. The live-action film directed by Sho Tsukikawa presents another cute story of young love.

The story unfolds when Haru Yoshida and Shizuku Mizutani have no choice but to sit beside each other in their class. Haru is known as a problematic student while Shizuku is called “dry ice” for her coldness towards everyone. Both are regarded as unsocial students. Love sparks when Shizuku needs to bring handouts to Haru who initiates friendship. Their friendship grows into love that brings out the best in them.

With 7.9/10 IMDb rating, My Little Monster is one of the Japanese Romantic Movies that you should consider watching.

 

2. The Liar and His Lover

True love wins over lies. Second on the list is the musical romance film The Liar and His Lover. With love so desired, will you lie?

25-year-old musician and songwriter Aki falls in love with the 16-year-old Riko. Aki used to be part of the band Crude Play way back in highschool. As his band was about to enter the music business, Aki left the group. He meets the student Riko who is a musician and is gifted with a wonderful voice. They fall in love with each other. Aki keeps his identity secret to Riko who signs a contract to be an artist. Riko learns about the real Aki and his role in her career.

 

1. Daytime Shooting Star

First in our list, Daytime Shooting Star tells us that sometimes we get lost so can be found. With 8.1/10 IMDb rating, this movie is surely considerable to watch.

Yosano Suzume transfers to a school in Tokyo. She gets lost on her first day of school but rescue comes in through Shishio, her homeroom teacher. The innocent Yosano confesses her feelings for Shishio leaving him feeling awkward. One day, Yosano meets Mamusa who confesses his feelings for her.

A simple yet entertaining movie, Daytime Shooting Star delivers a clear picture of innocent, young, and pure love.

 

Conclusion

“And they live happily ever after’’ is how everyone wants a romance film to end. Who would want a tragic ending for couples who just found love? No one. If you want to feel love or see what love looks like in other parts of the world, try these 15 Best Japanese Romantic Movies.

 

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15 Best Japanese Mystery Movies

Life, as they say, is a mystery, waiting to unfold. All it takes is a curious mind to solve these lying puzzles abound. If you’re eager enough to find out, be prepared as your mind gets boggled as we uncover the different mysteries behind the stories of these best Japanese mystery movies.

 

1.) The Snow White Murder Case (2014)

The Snow White Murder Case is film directed by Yoshihiro Nakamura.

The story begins where Yuji Akahoshi, received a phone call from an old friend telling him that her colleague at work was murdered. Yuji interviewed the company employees, to feature the story for his television show.

Soon after, he discovers that one employee named Miki Shirono went missing on the same day the girl was murdered. Yuji sets out to solve the case.

Not bad for starters isn’t it? Now let’s hop on to the next one on the list!

 

2.) Perfect Blue (1997)

This second film on the list of best Japanese mystery movies would surely make your mind go crazy.

It tells the story of an actress who transitioned from singing to acting. Her fans were disappointed but she continued nonetheless. She became more famous and successful and was able to get a lead role in a movie. However, unwanted things started to happen to her life that caused her to be delusional.

Perfect Blue was widely accepted in Japan and in the international scene. It even received awards at the Fantasporto Film Festival in Portugal and Fantasia Festival in Montreal

 

3.) The Third Murder (2017)

Misumi, a convicted criminal, is under a death penalty trial. Tomoaki Shigemori, was asked to stand as his defense lawyer. Even though Misumi already confessed to admitting the crime, his lawyer on the other hand, is skeptical as to what really happened.

This 2017 film was written and directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda. It was well-acclaimed by critics and gained several nominations and awards. Rotten Tomatoes gave an approval rating of 84% with a 7.2/10 audience score.

 

4.) The Devotion Suspect X (2008)

Next up is another mystery-thriller film in 2008 by Hiroshi Nishitani. Let’s delve through this film from our best Japanese mystery movies lineup.

One fateful night, Yasuko, a single mother, gets extorted by his husband to get money. However, things went downhill from there. Yasuko accidentally killed his husband. Ishigami, their next-door neighbor, finds out what happened and connived with Yasuko to cover-up for the murder.

Yukawa, Ishigami’s fellow, was convinced to investigate the case. When Yasuko finds out the truth, he must choose between doing the right or wrong.

Though this movie was not well-known outside Japan, it was well received by Japanese audiences and even ranked as the 8th highest-grossing film in 2008.

 

5.) The World of Kanako (2014)

The World of Kanako is a film based on the novel titled, Hateshinaki Kawaki written by Akio Fukamachi. The film was directed by Tetsuya Nakashima and was released in 2014.

It follows the story of a former detective who investigates the case of his missing daughter. As he gets closer to finding out the truth, he discovers something big behind his daughter’s death.

Now time for some gun fused action scenes as we jump to the next in our best Japanese mystery movies!

 

6.) Stray Dog (1949)

A classic 1949 film directed by Akira Kurosawa, Stray Dog is a film set in the late 1940’s Tokyo.

The film goes around a young detective, who, in search of his stolen pistol, finds out about an illegal gun market. Now, the detective is in the conquest of catching the mastermind of a gun trafficking syndicate.

Now it’s up for you to find out what probably happened next by watching this movie!

 

7.) Cold Fish (2010)

Next up on the best Japanese mystery movies lineup, director Sion Sono once again takes us into a sick joyride of gore scenes.

Cold Fish primarily shows the gruesome acts of a couple who killed their business partner and his family. This couple, as it turns out, are actually serial killers who already had many victims.

The movie was featured at the 67th Venice international Festival in September 2010. It also won the best screenplay award in Fantastic Fest 2010 under the Fantastic Features section.

 

8.)  Erased (2016)

Boku Dake ga Inai Machi, or mainly known as Erased, is a manga-based movie of the same title in 2016.

The film leads us to the world of Satoru, an aspiring manga artist who works as a part time delivery guy. He has the ability to “rewind”, to go back a few moments in the past, to be able to stop the death of the people around him. Saturo uses his ability to find a serial killer who killed his mother and his friends from the past.

 

9.) Lakeside Murder Case (2004)

Four couples decided to stay on a lakeside cottage with their children. This is to help the kids to prepare for an entrance exam of a reputable high school. Things turn around after one of the wives confesses to her husband of killing his mistress.

This is one of Shinji Aoyama’s films that will boggle your minds out until the end. If you’re curious enough to find out, there’s no harm in picking this film among these best Japanese mystery movies!

 

10.) Labyrinth of Dreams (1997)

A serial bus driver is on the move with our next movie on the list. Labyrinth of Dreams is a 1997 film that leads us to a story of choosing between love and revenge.

A young girl Tomiko finds about the death of her friend who apparently, was murdered by his ex-fiancee Niitaka. Tomiko, however, finds herself in love with Niitaka. Now she is conflicted with her feelings as her suspicion with Niitka grows.

 

11.) Retribution (2006)

Retribution is a Japanese mystery movie by Kiyoshi Kurosawa. Story revolves around the investigation of a chain of serial murders by a detective. As the detective went on with the investigation, he encountered a ghost in a red dress, gradually leading him to insanity.

12.) Honnōji Hotel (2017)

Now on to our next film on the list, don’t go yet as we leap onto this comedy fantasy film by Masayuki Suzuki.

A woman, who went to Kyoto for a visit, was denied a reservation from the hotel where she planned to stay. She ends up staying at a historic hotel where she is mysteriously taken back to 16th century Japan.

Beyond just being a fantasy film itself, this movie takes into account one of the most important events that took place in Japan’s history. Honnōji Hotel is certainly one of the best Japanese mystery movies that is fun to watch!

 

13.) Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva (2009)

Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva is an animated film by Masakazu Hashimoto. It is based on a video game series produced by Level-5 Inc. The story told in the movie took place in various events that happened in two video games included in the series.

The film was reproduced to an English version to cater the western audiences. It got positive reviews from the critics after its release in the United States.

 

14.) Joshiko (2016)

A sought after fun high school reunion of six girls turns into a crime solving mystery when one person dies. As a clue, the girls received a text message, sent seven years ago, containing a question of who might be the criminal. To find out the person behind the killing, the girls take a throwback into the past seven years.

 

15.)  The Brain Man (2013)

Finally, we’re down to the last one in our best Japanese mystery movies roster. If you have nothing to pick yet, this last one could be the movie of your choice!

The Brain Man is a two-hour stretch film, directed by Tomoyuki Takimoto. It’s about catching the person behind the series of bombings that took place in the city. The police caught a psychopath, who they think is the killer.

The police also sought the help of a doctor to help them uncover the identity of the person they held captive.

 

 

Can’t wait enough to discover more of life’s mysteries? These best Japanese mystery movies will surely give you the answers you might be looking for!  Watching these films will not just entertain you, but will leave your minds in the state of wonder.

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13 Best Japanese Drama Movies

Are you looking for something to watch that will melt your hearts and put your eyes into tears? Or maybe you want a movie that relates to your own life story? Aside from popcorn and drinks, a handkerchief too, might get handy as you get to watch the best Japanese drama movies of all time.

 

1.  Tokyo Story (1953)

The first movie to start off our list of best Japanese Drama Movies, is the film Tokyo Story. This movie is a 1953 movie based on the 1937 film by Leo McCarey entitled, “Make Way for Tomorrow”.

The film follows the story of a couple who travelled to Tokyo to visit their three children. Upon their visit, they have seen how much their children have grown apart from them. Each busy with their own lives and career, they barely have spent the time with their parents as they only see them as an additional burden.

However, their widowed daughter-in-law took the time to bond with them and take care of them during their stay in Tokyo.

This movie directed by Yasujiro Ozu, won the inaugural Sutherland Trophy after its 1957 screening in London. This movie was also well-acclaimed by U.S. film critics after its 1972 screening in New York City.

 

2.  Black Rain (1989)

The 1945 Hiroshima atomic bombing is a big part of Japan’s history. This movie depicted the life of the Japanese people who suffered as an aftermath of the Hiroshima bombing.

The film tackled Shizuma Shigematsu’s chronicles about Hiroshima, before, during and after the bombing. Shigematsu and his wife were compelled to take care of their niece and to help her find a husband. Having been declined three times because of the Black Rain fallout, Shigematsu continued the search. As the story progresses, the chances of his niece getting married are getting smaller.

This film was able to translate to its audiences the sufferings, uncertainty and the brevity of life during this time.

Black Rain received a lot of awards and nominations, both locally and internationally.  It won several awards from the 1990 Japanese Academy Awards. It also won the Best Actress award from the 1990 Blue Ribbon Awards. Cannes Film Festival awarded this movie the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury – Special Mention and Technical Grand Prize in 1989. Aside from the mentioned awards here, this movie gained several more in various film festivals worldwide.

 

3.  Twenty-Four Eyes (1954)

There is nothing that compares to a teacher’s dedication and love for her students. Next up on our list of best Japanese drama movies is a story of a teacher’s unrelenting commitment for her students that will surely melt your heart.

This movie was set in a remote island community dating back from 1928 until the Second World War. Through this film, director Keisuke Kinoshita gives us a nostalgic look at the beauty and harshness of life from the eyes of a teacher who watches out for her students as they grow.

This 1954 classic was included in the Criterion Collection list.

 

4.  Tokyo Family (2013)

This movie directed by Yoji Yamada is a 2013 remake of the film “Tokyo Story” by Yasujiro Ozu.

The story is almost akin to the original one, however, the director made a few deviations from the first movie to make it more relevant to contemporary Japan.

Tokyo Family still adopts the same plot, where a couple decides to pay a visit to their children in the city, but neither of their children has time for them. Despite the same plot’s adaptation, Yamada’s movie was proved to be still relatable even to modern Japan.

This film grossed around US﹩15.2 million at the Japanese box office. Derek Elley of Film Business Asia gave the film a 4 out 10 ranking.

 

5.  A Last Note (1995)

A story of betrayal and forgiveness in friendship, A Last Note will surely translate to many hearts of its audiences. A story of a widowed retired actress named Yoko decided to go back to her vacation house with her friends for a break.

However, what was thought to be a fun and relaxing vacation turned south when one of Yoko’s friends named Toyoko confessed to her that she and her late husband had an affair that bore a child. Still in the end, Yoko and Toyoko reconciled as they both moved forward and continued their lives.

This film was chosen as the Best Film, Best Director, and Best screenplay and Best Supporting actress at Japan Academy Prize 1996. Moreover, it received several awards and nominations from different award giving bodies in the same year.

 

6. Kabei: Our Mother (2008)

Next up on the list of best Japanese drama movies is definitely another tear jerker. Another classic film by director Yoji Yamada, this tells the story of a mother’s sacrifice and love for her children.

Set in 1940’s Tokyo, the Nogami family’s quiet life was disturbed after the head of the family, Shigeru, was arrested and indicted for being a comunist. Since his arrest, Kayo, his wife worked day in and day out to be able to provide for their children.

 

7.  Letter from the mountain (2002)

A doctor named Michiko finds herself suffering from panic attacks, then decides to take off from the city life and go back to her husband’s ancestral home.

In their return, the couple met a lot of people living in the village, and some old friends from the past. They also enjoyed nature trips as they lived a simple life away from the busy city.  Soon, Michiko recovered and decided to continue her research work at the hospital and her husband Takao gave another shot at writing.

This film was directed by Takashi Koizumi inspired from a novel written by Keishi Nagi.

 

8.  1 Litre of Tears (2005)

This film did not just make it to the list of best Japanese drama movies, but it also inspired a drama series remake both in Japan and Korea.

1 Litre of Tears is directed by Riki Okamura. It is based on a published diary entitled, “1 Litre no Namida” written by Aya Kito who suffered and died from Spinocerebellar degeneration. The movie mainly talked about her real life experiences, as she fought her battle with the disease.

 

9.  Postcard (2010)

A night before going to the battlefield, 100 soldiers are chosen to be sent out to the battle frontlines by casting lots. During the same night, a soldier expecting his death during the war asked Keita Matusuyama, another soldier at war to tell his wife that he read the postcard he sent her.

Soon after the war ended, only six soldiers went back alive and among them was Keita. When he returned home, his wife and his whole family were gone. With no one to go home to, he goes to Tomoko, the wife of his co-soldier who sent the postcard.

This film was written and directed by Kaneto Shino. Postcard was chosen as Japan’s entry for the Best Foreign Language film category at the 84th Academy Awards.

 

10.  Departures (2008)

If you are a movie goer that is also into music, this film from our roster of best Japanese drama movies could be the one you are looking for!

The story revolves around the life of Daigo Kobayashi, a newly-hired aspiring cellist. However, he lost his job right away when the orchestra disbanded. With his newly bought expensive cello that cost him his future, Daigo and her wife decided to go back to his hometown.

Daigo, after a long search, seeks to find a new job. Expecting to work as a travel agent, he landed as an encoffiner (“Nokanshi”). In Japan, being an encoffiner is not accepted in the society, and people tend to look down at people with this type of job.

He accepted the job nevertheless, but when his wife learned about his new job, he was forced to choose between his job and his wife.

Departures got the best picture award at the 32nd Japan academy awards as well as the Best Foreign Language Film for the 81st Academy awards.

 

11.  Still Walking (2008)

Still Walking is a 2008 drama film written and directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda. This movie was widely accepted by critics and was awarded the Golden Astor for Best Film at Mar del Plata International film festival in 2008.

The story features a grieving Yokoyama family, who was reunited to commemorate the 12th year death anniversary of their eldest son, Junpei. Ryota, the younger brother, was jealous of the older brother which happens to be their parents’ favorite son.

This film will certainly break your hearts as it shows the brokenness of a family from the death of a loved one. Definitely, this is among the greatest Japanese drama movies that you should go and see as a family.

 

12.  Our little sister (2015)

Second to the last from our best Japanese drama movies list is another family movie about sisterhood.

It’s about three sisters who were left by their father after their parents’ divorce. 15 years later, they learned about their father’s demise. The sisters went off to attend their father’s funeral. At the wake, they met their orphaned step-sister.

This film was also directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda and was based on a manga series entitled, “Umimachi Diary” by Akimi Yoshida.

 

13.  Grave of the Fireflies (1988)

Last movie to top off our list of best Japanese drama movies, is a Hayao Miyazaki classic. If you are a studio ghibli fanatic, this might spark your interest.

The story took place at the end of World War II in Japan, where two siblings were orphaned after losing their parents during the World War. Together, they continue to survive in the midst of a rampant famine and unacceptance from their relatives.

In commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the Second World War NTV produced a live action of this movie.

 

 

So there you have it. Hope you enjoyed the list! All the way towards the end of any of these best Japanese drama movies will surely prick and touch your hearts as you get to enjoy and watch these films with your friends and families!

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12 Best Japanese Action Movies

A hero trying his best to end a life-threatening situation is the common element in any action film. With a lot of chases and fights, you are sure to grab your chair as the scenes progress with these Japanese action movies.

Hollywood action films have conquered the mainstream, but if you are looking for something new, Japanese action movies can satisfy your movie cravings.

 

1. 13 Assassins – 2010

13 Assassins is one of the most action-packed Japanese action movies. A suicide mission to assassinate 200 Samurai and Naritsugu Matsudaira – a wicked political figure – is ahead of 13 assassins. Doi Tushitsura realizes the bloodshed awaiting. He plots to murder Naritsugu but Hanbei Kitou, Naritsugu’s security officer, learns about the plan.

Doi seeks the service of Shimada Shinzaemon, an old Samurai, to accomplish the assassination. Shimada assembles 11 more Samurai to ambush the cruel lord on his trip from Edo to his lands in Akashi. The 12 men, lost in the mountain on their way to accomplish the task, meet Kiga Koyata who soon joins them becoming the 13th assassin.

They must prevent the possible civil war when Naritsugu becomes part of the Shogunate council.

 

2. Seven Samurai – 1954

Seven hungry Samurai, led by Kambei, are on a mission to protect a poor village from 40 greedy bandits. Gisaku, village farmer, overhears the bandits plotting to raid his village. The village leaders then realize they need protection and that only a Samurai can do the job.

Without money to pay the Samurai for his service, Gisaku suggests to the leaders to hire a hungry swordsman. Promised to be fed three meals a day, Kambei – an old experienced Ronin – receives the task.

He searches for six other Samurai to deliver the poor village from the bandits. It is a rough start between the seven Samurai and villagers but the circumstance has made them realize they need each other to survive.

 

3. Rurouni Kenshin: Origins – 2012

One of the Japanese action movies set in the Meiji period, the story is centered on Kenshin Himura, who promises to never kill again after the Bakumatsu war. Carrying a reversed-edged sword, Kenshin moves around Japan. He meets the drug lord Kanryuu Takeda who wants to take control of a school.

Kenshin fights against the drug lord and gets to know Kaoru Kamiya who owns the school. Kaoru offers Kenshin to stay in the school. The drug chemist Megumi Takani, forced to make opium, escapes Kanryuu and hides in the school.

The greedy drug lord continues to take control of the school and poisons the people through the well. Kenshin steps into the scene to protect the villagers and Kaoru together with Sanosuke Sagara, a street fighter.

 

4. Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno – 2014

In the second part of the Ruroni Kenshin movie series, Kenshin Himura faces a new battle as Makoto Shishio tries to put an end to the Meiji government. Makoto was betrayed by the government after helping them to defeat the Tokugawa Shogunate. Since then, Makoto has become obsessed with destroying the regime.

The government learns about the plan and reaches out to Kenshin for service. He refuses to accept the request to track down Shishio who continues to destroy communities. But Shishio learns about Kenshin tracking him down, so he uses Kaoru against Kenshin by throwing her to the sea. Kenshin dives in to save her.

As the people Kenshin Himura cares for get into trouble, he has no choice but to protect and fight for them. He then realizes that he is not just fighting for those he knows but now for the whole of Japan.

 

 

5. Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends – 2014

In the final part of the movie series, Shishio is still after tearing down the Meiji government. After jumping off the ship to save Kaoru, Kenshin wakes up to find himself washed by the waves to land. Hiko Seijuro, his master, finds him and takes care of him while he is unconscious for three days.

To defeat Shishio, Kenshin urges his master to teach him the Amakakeru Ryu no Hirameki – the ultimate technique of the Hiten Mitsurugi school. Master Hiko tells Kenshin that he cannot defeat Shishio as he has already given up on living. Hiko tells him to strive living and to embrace again his killer instinct.

Kenshin leaves ready for the bloodshed ahead of him. He learns about Shishio’s weakness and plans to use that to defeat him. Since then, Kenshin strives to live again.

 

6. Harakiri – 1962

A Jury Prize awardee, this is one of the best Japanese action movies that’ll surely grip your interest until the end. An elder Ronin, Hanshiro Tsugumo, is out of work. Being a Samurai with poverty awaiting, he then decides to honorably end his situation with ritual suicide Harakiri in a feudal lord’s courtyard.

He then meets Saito, who discourages Hanshiro by recalling a brutal Harakiri. But Hanshiro still wishes to complete the ritual in the clan’s palace. The day for the Harakiri is set. Hanshiro names the Samurai he wants to behead him. Saito is surprised that Hanshiro mentions the names of the three senior Samurai of the clan.

Hanshiro reveals that the recent Samurai who performed the Harakiri was Motome, his son-in-law. He recalls that Motome looked for work at the house but was forced to commit suicide with a bamboo blade. Since then, Hanshiro seeks revenge against the clan.

 

7. Zatoichi – 2003

One of the best-written Japanese action movies that involves Yakuza, the story started with a blind master swordsman, Zatoichi. He arrives at a town controlled by Yakuza. He earns money by gambling and giving massages.

Then, he meets two Geisha siblings who want revenge for the massacre of their parents. The siblings survived a robbery and killing incident ten years ago. They have learned that the Yakuza in their town are the murderers.

Learning this, the master swordsman offers his service to the two Geisha siblings. Zatoichi steps into a bloody mission to avenge the murder of the parents of the Geisha. He himself engages into battle of swords and strength to take the whole town from the hands of the local Yakuza gang.

 

8. Crows Zero – 2007

Genji Takiya, a high school senior, transfers to Suzuran All-Boys High School, known as the poorest achieving and most violent school in the country. Students band and join gangs fighting for power.

It started when Yakuza came to the school and mistake Genji as Serizawa on the freshman orientation. Then, brawl starts on the school open ground. The gang seeks revenge for their beaten members. Serizawa returns to the school and sees Genji defeat the Yakuza.

Later that evening, Genji goes to see his father, Takiya Hideo, a Yakuza leader, to inform him that he wants to rule over Suzuran High School. Then, the time has come for Genji and Serizawa to find out who must reign between them. Genji eventually wins and continues to seek power, realizing that someone will always show up to gain control of Suzuran All-Boys High School.

 

9. Blade of the Immortal – 2017

The highly skilled Samurai Manji receives a mission to assassinate a corrupted lord and his followers. He accomplishes the task only to find out that the follower he killed was his sister’s husband.

Machi, his sister, learns about the tragic killing and becomes insane out of grief. Machi runs off and falls into the hands of Ronin who then killed her. Manji rages in anger and murders all master swordsmen. Without reason to live, Manji receives his death. Yaobikuni sees Manji and gives him the bloodworms that will give him immortality.

Years passed, Manji meets the girl Rin who wants him to help her avenge the death of her father from a group of Samurai assassins. He refuses at first but then says yes after an assassin attacks Rin. Finding purpose in life once again, Manji continues to live protecting Rin. This is definitely one of the best Japanese action movies that’ll surely put you at the end of your seat!

 

10. The Hidden Blade – 2004

Samurai Munezo Katagiri and Samon Shimada say goodbye to their friend Yaichiro Hazama who is to take an important role in Edo.

Time has passed and the Katagiris experienced financial challenges. Munezo’s mother died and his sister married his friend, Samon. Moreover, his love interest, Kei, is married into a merchant family. Because of the difference in social status, Munezo could not marry Kei, who has served their family as a maid.

One day, he learns that Kei is treated as a slave rather than a wife. Munezo rescues Kei and demands her husband to file divorce. Kei is sent back to his father to avoid criticism from his community.

Yaichiro is back to the village as a prisoner after being involved in a political issue. Yaichiro escaped and Munezo is given the mission to kill his old comrade who is a better swordsman.

11. Battle Royale – 2000

To take control of the problematic youth, Japan passes the ‘‘Battle Royale’’ act. A class of ninth-grade students is captured and forced to kill each other in order to survive. Some students participate in murdering others while some decide to take their own life. The students are given 3 days to survive with only one winner to emerge at the end.

On the morning of the last day, Kawada starts to accomplish his plans. He pretends to kill Shuya and Noriko so they could prepare for the plotted attack. Kawada is determined to survive the island with his new found friends.

 

12. Bleach – 2018

One of the latest and most popular Japanese action movies, the story is about Ichigo Kurosaki, who realizes his ability to see ghosts and hollows. He then meets Rukia Kuchiki, a Soul Reaper, who is on a mission to find the hollow Fishbone

One night, Rukia gets wounded in trying to protect the Kurosaki family. She transfers her powers into Ichigo who eventually defeats the hollow. He learns that Rukia is powerless and that  he must then become her substitute to protect his family and Karakura town until he can return Rukia’s power back to her.

 

It is about time to experience a new kind of action film! As you entertain yourself watching Japanese action movies, you also see culture and tradition. So, if you’re looking for a twist in your usual action movie list, grab your chips and drink and enjoy what Japanese action movies have on the silver screen!

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11 Best Japanese Fantasy Movies

As the American astronomer Carl Sagan says, “Imagination will carry us to the worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere.” Our imagination can really take us to places without limits. Hence, let’s go as we travel the magical world of fantasy and imagination with these best Japanese fantasy movies!

1.) Princess Mononoke (1997)

Our first stop for this magical trip is a Hayao Miyazaki creation. Princess Mononoke is a Japanese fantasy film released in 1997.

This film is set in Japan during the late Muromachi period. Ashitaka, the last prince of Emishi, killed a demon that attacked their village. However, the demon’s destruction resulted in a curse in his right arm. Temporarily, this gave Ashitaka superhuman strength, but will eventually consume and kill him.

Ashitaka embarks on a perilous journey to find the cure for the curse. Princess Mononoke marked as one of the highest-grossing films of 1997.

 

2.) The Taste of Tea (2004)

Next up on our itinerary, is a family-oriented comedy fantasy film directed by Katsuhito Ishii. The story revolves around the family members of the Haruno family.

Each family member is individually confronted with different challenges of life as they live together in their simple house. The Taste of Tea will not just stir up your imagination but will surely entertain you with its comedic elements.

This film got a 100% rating from Rotten Tomatoes. It is also one of the movies picked for Ed Park’s choices in Sight & Sound critics’ poll of the greatest films ever made in 2012.

 

3.) My Neighbor Totoro (1988)

Have you ever thought of dust bunnies coming to life, or a cat that turns into a bus? Our next stop from the list of best Japanese fantasy movies is another Hayao Miyazaki classic that will fill your minds with awe and wonder.

Two girls, named Satsuki and Mei, transfer into a new home with their father to get close to the hospital where their mother is confined. The youngest, Mei, is led by two dust bunnies to a camphor tree, where she meets Totoro, a huge wood spirit. The adventure begins as Satsuki and Mei explore the magical land of forest where the spirits dwell.

This film was released both locally and internationally, well-acclaimed by various film critics worldwide.

 

4.) Paco and the Magical Picture Book (2008)

Okunuki is a grumpy old man who runs a large corporation. One day, he was brought to the hospital when he collapsed during a meeting.

 

At first, Okunuki were hated by other patients. Until one day, he crossed paths with Paco. Paco is a young girl suffering from a chronic short term memory loss. She only retains her memory for a single day.

She asks Okunuki to read aloud her favorite picture book. The next day, Paco totally forgets about Okunuki. Initially, Okunuki thinks Paco is just fooling around, but later on, his heart starts to get soft on Paco as he realizes the severity of her condition.

Each day, together with the other patients, they all journey with Paco through the magical land of the picture book. This movie was directed by Tetsuya Nakashima and was released in Japan in 2008.

 

5.) The Miracles of Namiya General Store (2017)

This film, among the best Japanese fantasy movies, will show you that no amount of time and space can separate two worlds apart.

In its heyday, the owner of the Namiya General Store was famous for giving advice to anyone who sought it. Every night, people would drop the letters in a mailbox and the owner would give a reply written in a milk carton hung outside the store.

In the present 2012, the store was totally closed and abandoned. One night, three fugitives go into the store where they discover a letter that was written 32 years ago. The boys wrote a reply letter and sent it back to the past.

This movie was directed by Ryuichi Hiroki and is based on a novel by Keigo Higashino entitled Namiya Zakkaten no Kiseki.

 

6.) Spirited Away (2001)

The story follows a young girl named Chihiro, who is about to move to their new home with her parents. Along the way, they stopped in front of a tunnel that leads to an abandoned amusement park.

To her father’s insistence, they went on to explore the park. Things went wrong when Chihiro’s parents turned into pigs after eating in a restaurant inside. Chihiro must now find a way to turn her parents back and go out of the amusement park.

Like any other Miyazaki films, Spirited Away made a name and became the highest-grossing film in Japanese history.

If you are looking for a film that would make you realize the value of a loved one, this one may be the destination of your choice from our best Japanese fantasy movies!

 

7.) Humanoid Monster, Bem (2012)

Humanoid Monster, Bem is a 2012 film directed by Shunsuke Kariyamaya. The movie features a humanoid family that disguised themselves as humans, but turned into monsters when they experience extreme anger or sadness.

Born as monsters, but with a pure heart, this family was shunned by people because of their appearance. When people reportedly went missing and killed in the city, this family of three now finds a way to save humanity.

 

8.) RoboGeisha (2009)

Who would have thought that a Geisha could actually turn out into a robot? If you’re up for some sci-fi action film, RoboGeisha is one of the best Japanese fantasy movies that you should definitely see!

It all began, when two siblings, Yoshie and Kikue were kidnapped by a steel maker to transform them into robot assassins. Soon, as events turned out, the two became robot assassins. The director, Noboru Iguchi, will take us to an adventure, as two sisters pull through in their lives as assassins.

 

9.) Time Traveller: The Girl Who Leapt through Time (2010)

Akari, is a daughter of a researcher named Kazuko, who privately created a time-travel formula. Unfortunately, a car accident caused Kazuko to fall into a coma. After regaining consciousness, she tells Akari to travel back to 1972 to send a message to her mother’s first love, Kazuo.

However, she mistakenly travelled back to 1974, where she met Ryota. Together they sought to find Kazuo to send her mother’s message. Perhaps, this could be your film of choice among these best Japanese fantasy movies if you’re up to some film that transcends through time.

10.) The Machine Girl (2008)

Now time for some action-packed scenes with our second to the last film of best Japanese fantasy movies!

The Machine Girl is one of the films directed by Noboru Iguchi that was launched in 2008. This movie revolves around the story of a girl named Ami, who sought revenge for the death of his brother, Yu, and his friend, Takeshi.

This film was featured in March 2008 at the Yubari International Fantastic Film Festival.  It was also premiered in the United States in May of the same year.

 

11.) Attack on Titan (Shingeki No Kyojin) (2015)

Before we completely wrap up our trip, let’s go see what we have for our last film on the list!

Attack on Titan is a 2015 film directed by Shinji Higuchi. A post-apocalyptic film based on a manga of a similar title written by Hajime Isayama, this movie was released into two parts. Part one was released in August 2015 while the second part was released in September of the same year.

This film mainly tells the conquest of Eren Yaeger, together with his friends Armin and Mikasa in fighting the Titans that destroyed their hometown.

This film received mixed reactions and reviews from the audiences. Part one ranked 7th among the highest-selling films in Japan box office in 2015. The second part, however, was a total flop, earning less than the first one.

 

 

This trip may be over for now, but you can always go back to check and see the best Japanese fantasy movies of all time! As you return, don’t forget to see some of these movies with your friends! Enjoy!

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10 Best Japanese Samurai Movies

Samurai is a picture of power, chivalry, and loyalty among the Japanese. Years have passed and even up to now, Japan holds high regard for the Samurai. Hence, Samurai movies have been made to remember how Samurai shaped Japan.

Know more about Samurai through these 10 best Japanese Samurai movies below.

 

 

10. The Twilight Samurai

Released in 2002, The Twilight Samurai is Japanese historical drama film that received big awards and recognition within and beyond Japan. With an 8.1/10 IMDb rating, this is one of the Samurai movies reminding us of perseverance, love and loyalty.

Seibei receives his nickname “Twilight” as he goes home before the sun sets to take care of his two beautiful daughters and a sick mother. He lives a simple life as a widower, prioritizing the comfort of his daughters and the health of his sick mother.

A new chapter of his life begins when his first love, Tomoe, returns after divorcing her violent husband Koda. Koda follows her and encounters Seibei who now protects Tomoe. A duel followed, with Seibei emerging as the winner. But the challenges keep coming as he is about to face a stronger opponent that would make his name great in the eyes of the people and Tomoe.

 

9. Sanjuro

Sanjuro is a jidaigeki (period drama) film directed by Akira Kurosawa, a prominent and influential figure in the history of cinema.

The story starts to build when the clever Samurai Tsubaki Sanjūro hears a group of young Samurai discussing politics. He realizes the conspiracy in the discussion and finds himself involved in the political issue. Sanjuro also discovers an official who wants to take over a clan. He decides to protect the clan after knowing the death that awaits its staff as planned by the official.

Sanjuro is said to be an adaptation of the short story “Peaceful Days”, but the character of Sanjuro develops, making the movie different from the original plan.

 

8. Throne of Blood

One of the Samurai movies directed by Akira Kurosawa that received an 8.1/10 IMDb rating, Throne of Blood is a movie inspired by William Shakespeare’s play Macbeth.

After claiming victory in the war, Taketoti Washizu meets an oracle in the middle of the Spider’s Web forest. He receives a prophecy that he will be the Great Lord of the Spider Castle. He steps into the position not because he wants to, but through the efforts of his wife Asaji who greedily desires the position.

Throne of Blood was released in 1957 and is still regarded to be relevant today.

 

7. The Hidden Fortress

Said to inspire the 1977 movie Star Wars, The Hidden Fortress is another masterpiece made in 1958. The black-and-white film directed by Akira Kurosawa is rated 8.1/10 by IMDb.

Hiding in the mountains, General Rokurota Makabe and Princess Yuki need to cross the enemy battle lines into an allied district. Disguised as a mysterious man and a mute girl, they are escorted by two greedy peasants Tahei and Matashichi.

The Hidden Fortress was recognized as the highest-grossing among Samurai movies in 1958 and is considered as one of Kurosawa’s most successful films.

 

6. Rashomon

Awards from Venice Film Festival 1951 and 24th Academy Awards 1952 make Rashomon a movie to include in your Samurai movies list. Rashomon presents a well-thought complicated plot delivered by a priest, woodcutter, and a commoner.

Underneath the Rashomon gate, the priest and the woodcutter discuss to a commoner the murdered Samurai discovered in the forest. They are called to testify at the murder trial. Three more characters are summoned – the bandit, wife, and the spirit of the Samurai through a medium – to give their side of the story. As the film rolls, the truth becomes more unclear.

Considered as one of the greatest films ever made, Rashomon is a psychological thriller/crime movie directed in 1950 by none other than Akira Kurosawa.

 

5. Yojimbo

The film Yojimbo shows how greed for power consumes a man. It can be considered as a film of great story with the recognitions and awards it received.

The movie plays when Kuwabatake Sanjuro learns about two clans fighting over the ruling of the town. Sanjuro strongly believes that nobody between them deserves the political spot. He then decides to end both clans by killing them.

Behind the success of Yojimbo is the mastermind Akira Kurosawa. He then decided to pattern his next Samurai movie to it which eventually earned its own spot in the Japanese film industry.

 

4. Ugetsu

Another multi-awarded film, Ugetsu combines elements of war, ambition and the forbidden connection with ghosts. Under the direction of Kenji Mizoguchi, Ugetsu is also regarded as a masterwork of the Japanese cinema.

Genjuro receives a warning from a sage not to leave, but to stay in his town. However, he neglects the warning and leaves with Tobei to travel to a nearby town, leaving their wives. They both gain better sales.

As they decide to go back home, Tobei gets his share and leaves, hoping to fulfill his ambition of becoming a Samurai. As they realize to return, everything has already changed.

Earning the Silver Lion Award at the 1953 Venice Film Festival, Ugetsu is said to bring the Japanese cinema to the West.

 

3. Samurai Rebellion

Rated 8.4/10 by IMDb, Samurai Rebellion shares a story of a loving father fighting for his son. Receiving an award from the Venice Film Festival, Samurai Rebellion is sure to be of world-class category.

The Samurai Isaguro disagrees to marry his son Yogoro to the lord’s wife, Ichi. However, Yogoro accepts the lord’s order and soon finds love with Ichi. Their forced relationship gives birth to a daughter. When the lord’s son dies, he orders to have Ichi back to his household. Isaburo and Yogoro disagree and decide to fight for love and justice.

 

2. Seven Samurai

Japan’s third highest-grossing film of 1954, Seven Samurai makes a legacy other Samurai movies try to obtain. In the black-and-white screen period, Akira Kurosawa once again proved his artistry.

Seven Samurai promised to protect a village from a gang. They only demanded to be fed and to be provided a place to stay. As the gang accomplishes its plan, the villagers are hopeful that the Samurai are with them.

An originally 207 minute movie, Seven Samurai is sure to satisfy one’s entertainment appetite.

 

1. Harakiri

Harakiri takes the top spot with an 8.7/10 IMDb rating. This is one of Samurai movies that tells Kobayashi’s favorite theme: challenging authority.

As the Samurai lose their job, most of them suffer poverty. Some Samurai have made life-threatening decisions to provide for their family. Tsugumo Hanshiro seeks revenge after learning that his son-in-law was forced to die. He takes justice in his hands and overthrows the clan that dishonored his son-in-law.

Harakiri is filled with symbolism and political issues that are still considered to be relevant today. The original black-and-white movie was great enough to have a remake in 2011.

 

Conclusion

Samurai have played a significant role in shaping Japan as a country and its people. They have become a source of great inspiration in real life and fiction works. So sit and enjoy these treats, as any of these Samurai movies will not just entertain you, but will also take you of the beautiful culture of Japan in an instant.